I can't remember ever ending a series and feeling this satisfied (except for the Lumatere Chronicles, obviously). I'm so happy and full I just want toI can't remember ever ending a series and feeling this satisfied (except for the Lumatere Chronicles, obviously). I'm so happy and full I just want to hug the book to my chest and swoon about cake for a little bit....more
I really have no idea how I'm going to review Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell without just, well... fangirling. Cath's story touched me on a very real levelI really have no idea how I'm going to review Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell without just, well... fangirling. Cath's story touched me on a very real level, and I'm still not quite sure how to put into words how I feel about it. So, I guess I'll start at the beginning.
Cath is a Simon Snow fan. Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan, but for Cath, being a fan is her life--and she's really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it's what got them through their mother leaving.
Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.
Cath's sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can't let go. She doesn't want to. Now that they're going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn't want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She's got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can't stop worrying about her dad, who's loving and fragile and has never really been alone.
For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?
Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?
Oh, Rainbow. Rainbow, Rainbow, Rainbow. How do you do this to me every time? With each book I think I can't possibly love you, or your characters any more than the last, and you prove me wrong. Every time.
You gave me brutal, agonizing, terribly perfect first love in Eleanor & Park. Giddy grins and a serious thing for shoulders in Attachments. And this time, in Fangirl, you gave me part of myself.
This is an important book, written at a very important time. I don't know if it's just the case of the internet making everything more visible, but it feels like more people than ever are becoming involved in one fandom or another lately. It's fascinating, and a little crazy, and I think so so wonderful.
Fangirl is the first book I've read that contained the word 'fandom' and used it correctly--with all the connotations i holds, of community, and passion, and obsession, and just pure, outright love. It's the first book that not only mentioned fanfiction without derision, but spoke of the intention and devotion behind it.
It's the first book I've read that truly understood and celebrated the growing culture of fandom, and in doing so, I think became an incredibly meaningful story for those who give so much of their lives to it.
Certainly for me. I don't know if I've ever read a character I could identify with as much as Cath.
Cath who lives off peanut butter and granola bars for the entire first semester, because the thought of going to the cafeteria makes her anxious.
"In new situations, all the trickiest rules are the ones nobody bothers to explain to you. (And the ones you can't google.) Like, where does the line start? What food can you take? Where are you supposed to stand, then where are you supposed to sit? Where do you go when you're done, why is everyone watching you?...Bah." (Been there.)
Cath who is awkward and weird, and not really all that interested in making new friends.
"Underneath this veneer of slightly crazy and mildly socially retarded, I'm a complete disaster." (Yep.)
Cath who loves to write, and is so good she qualifies for a senior level writing class, but can't seem to focus on anything but her Simon Snow (think Harry Potter) fanfiction. Because that's safe. That she knows she can do, and do well. Because when nothing else in her life makes sense, she can always fall back into the world of Simon and Baz, and lose herself in the familiar.
Cath who goes to great lengths to be alone, but who never feels alone when she has her computer near.
Until, of course, she falls for a boy who makes her question whether there isn't more to life than Simon Snow.
What I love most about Fangirl is that even though Cath undergoes immense emotional growth throughout the story, never once does she stop being herself. She doesn't make friends, and fall in love, and then suddenly realize she didn't need Simon Snow after all. She didn't leave her world; she expanded it.
And I think that's such an important difference.
Okay. I've tried to be all analytical and actually talk about this book like a normal person, but really all I want to say is Fangirl made me so happy, and I swooned really hard, and since when am I attracted to receding hairlines and obscene eyebrows, oh I guess since Rainbow Rowell wrote Levi, and anyway everyone needs to read this.
Ahem. Okay. It's out of my system now. Sorry about that. ...more
There are some people in the world to whom music is as vital as oxygen. To those--me, and certainly Emma Trevayne, the author of Coda--music has the aThere are some people in the world to whom music is as vital as oxygen. To those--me, and certainly Emma Trevayne, the author of Coda--music has the ability to heighten emotions, to heal, to soothe, to enrige, and excite. To us, music is as potent as any drug, and almost as addicting.
To Anthem, and the rest of the citizens in The Web, there is no almost. Music is quite literally a drug, one as addicting as any narcotic. And just as dangerous.
In Anthem's post-war world on the island of Manhatten, the Corp--the nameless, faceless, despotic government--controls everyone through music specially encoded to be as addicting, and mood-altering as possible. It keeps the citizens passive, keeps them dependent--and ensures they don't live long enough to have time to do anything but survive.
But Anthem has a secret. He and four others meet secretly once a week to play music together--real music, without any encoding. Music created just for the joy of it, an outlet for their rage, and their sorrow, and the sweet thrill of the illicit, and the free.
But even with the pure high playing gives him, he can't escape the addiction the Corp has bred in him. He craves the high as much as he despises it. When he's tracking is the only time he feels free, yet it is when he's most chained.
With drumbeat shackles and guitar-string ropes, I'm a willing prisoner. It's miraculous here: light and sound and color and shape coalesce around me before exploding into fireworks of bliss. Rainbow sparks tumble down to sizzle on my clothes.
Songs change. Sweat flows. Energy gathers and releases and gathers again. This one's my favorite. It sweeps me away, floating, until waves of a thousand keyboards break all at once, crashing into my frantic body, tossing me higher, higher, higher.
It isn't until a friend is killed right in front of him that Anthem begins to wonder if their music is worth something more than the few moments of freedom it allows him and the band. Could their songs incite a rebellion? Could they be an anthem for the revolution the people so desperately need?
Coda has a cool-factor unlike anything I've read. A cyberpunk--part dystopian, part science fiction--thriller set in futuristic Manhatten, with the requisite gadgetry, romance, and the added benefit of a rockstar? Sign me up.
It's a fast read, intense and sometimes violent, but not without nuance or sublety. In a world built on absolutes, Anthem is a character drawn in shades of gray. He is conflicted and flawed, never entirely sure of himself, only that he can't go on as he has. And though the action and intensity may be the melody to Coda, the elements that stick in your head the most when you remember the story, Anthem's heart is the backbeat to it all. Steady, unwaverying, and giving structure to it all.
Coda is a unique read, fast and intense, and fun, with twists you won't see coming (but will probably want to yell at Ms. Trevayne about. Go ahead. I already have.)
Full disclosure: I am one of Emma Trevayne's crit partners, and first read Coda when Emma pinged me and said, "hey, I read a chapter of this thing. Wanna read it?" And though it's gone through some changes from gdoc to book, at the heart it's the same story that thrilled me from the first page almost two years ago.
This will be another review along the lines of the one I did for Saving Francesca where I have absolutely nothing of use to say except THIS IS FANTASTThis will be another review along the lines of the one I did for Saving Francesca where I have absolutely nothing of use to say except THIS IS FANTASTIC, PLEASE READ IT. It's an intensely emotional journey--one that hit me on a wide spectrum of feelings--but so beautifully crafted with characters that came alive for me. I laughed and smiled and cried for them, felt them carve their way into my heart. By the end I was clutching my chest and smiling through my tears, and it was worth every moment I spent feeling as though my heart was going to crash right out of my chest and smash to pieces on the floor.
I will warn that the beginning is very confusing--and is so for quite a bit of the book. I would encourage readers to just push through. If you read to absorb rather than try to figure it out, it becomes easier. All is answered (and though it takes quite a bit, answered at the right time in my opinion) and by the time you get to the end, you won't care about how confusing the beginning was--and you'll know why it had to be that way.
Beautifully and uniquely written story. I don't know why Marchetta isn't more popular than she is. The two books I've read in the last two days have left me in awe, and I can't wait to read the rest of her work. ...more